We’re catching up on Justified one week later. It’s all very timely considering that the show is taking time off for the Olympics. So if you’re missing the show, here’s your chance to get a fix for the week.
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Kill The Messenger’ is a very interesting hour because it takes our characters down different paths than we might have expected. It occurred to me earlier this season that we might see Boyd (Walton Goggins) team up with the Crowes, but I figured that it was much likelier that they would come to blows (I think there’s a good chance that may still happen, despite the appearance of unity at the end of the episode). It’s a smart move for Boyd since he’s basically down to a single henchmen in Jimmy (Jesse Luken). Boyd needs muscle to fend off attackers at every angle and if that means a temporary partnership with the cash-poor Crowes, then all the better for it. An epic showdown with Cousin Johnny has been brewing south of the border for a few episodes now so this seems as good a time as ever to get recruit some heavies.
The story is a little different for the Crowes, who continue to skirt serious jail time by the skin of their teeth. It was clear when Danny (AJ Buckley) killed Baptiste that he was the loose canon of the family and he proves that again and again here. Running Allison (Amy Smart) off the road, encouraging Dewey (Damon Herriman) to beat up and kidnap Carl (Justin Welborn) and nearly stabbing Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) when he comes to their “borrowed” home are all gobsmackingly stupid things to do. And yet the Crowes have a sense of familial obligation to one another that means they stick together, no matter how boneheaded one of them may be. It’s a variation of a popular Justified theme about the importance of family, but it hasn’t been this applicable since S2’s Bennett family. Looking back on Justified‘s criminal population, however, it’s clear that the most powerful criminals in Harlan County are the ones who have someone to stick their neck out for, not just the power, money or glory of their less successful competitors.
Caught up in the drama are Raylan and Rachel (Erica Tazel) who spend the day trying not to kill Danny Crowe. It’s particularly impressive for Raylan not to resort to violence (something remarked upon by both Rachel and Allison), though it’s not for lack of incentive. He’s clearly trying to keep himself in check to appease Art (Nick Searcy). I’ve got to say that after building up to this conflict for an entire half season, I love the way that the reveal plays out: we don’t hear any of the exchange between Art and Raylan. We only see the aftermath as Art gets a stiff drink and then wordlessly punches Raylan in the face. It’s powerful and evocative. And as a bonus, it results in a comedic gem from Tim (Jacob Pitts) in the morning meeting as well as an emotional heart to heart with Rachel on the ride home. Neither Art, nor Raylan are talking about the truth, but we don’t need to hear anything to understand what’s passed between them. Expertly played.
- You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Ava (Joelle Carter). I admit that I’m still not really coming around to this Orange Is The New Black knock-off storyline, particularly the cliché and depth-free portrayal of prison segregated gangs. I do appreciate that Ava cuts her hair instead of going the more sensational route and trying to shiv someone for real, though.
- I’m rather impressed with Wendy Crowe (Alicia Witt). The sole female Crowe (and seemingly only smart one aside from Jacob Lofland’s mouthy Kendal) knows how to play the angles. She uses the “golly gee whiz” persona for Allison’s visit and plays the informed lawyer when Raylan tries to get into the house. If she wasn’t saddled with such a disreputable band of brothers she could really make something of herself.
- Finally, Daryl Jr (Michael Rapaport) sure does enjoy getting his knuckles bruised doesn’t he? That’s a mean smack down he lays on Gunnar.
- Allison (as she and Raylan see each other’s shiners): “Before you say anything – what the hell happened to your face?”
- Dewey (when Carl’s cell phone is disconnected): “God this reception is for shit.”
- Carl (explaining why he’s beat up and tied to a chair): “Danny and I, we never did decide on a safe word, did we?”
- Rachel (when Raylan calls her a kiss-ass): “You might see it that way, if you’re a son of a bitch.”
What did you think of the way Raylan and Art’s conflict is handled? Did Boyd make the right decision aligning himself with the Crowes? Is Wendy winning you over? Anything promising in the tired prison storyline? Sound off below.
Justified airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on FX